by Todd Beeton, Sun May 25, 2008 at 08:30:03 AM EDT
Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the Obama campaign sees some urgency in the timing of picking a VP.
Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane flying from San Juan, PR to Chicago on Saturday, likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he will have to pick a running mate "quickly" once the primary and caucus votes are over.
One suspects the reasoning has something to do with the whole party unity thing, or perhaps they want to fuel the narrative that the nomination will be decided "when primary and caucus votes are over" but it should be noted that in 2004, John Kerry didn't announce his choice of John Edwards for VP until early July, a mere two weeks before the convention. A little amusing sidenote, the dailykos frontpage repeatedlyheralded the Edwards pick as "the people's choice." Wonder if they'll be calling on Obama to pick the people's choice this year. No?
Despite the near consensus view among the punditry class that Obama won't pick Clinton for VP, she is on all speculative shortlists I've seen. Marc Ambinder has her as last with Kathleen Sebelius at #1. Lynn Sweet (Ambinder says: "I trust her more than I trust myself!"), has the opposite view. The following is her first tier:
HILLARY CLINTON brings in supporters who delivered victories for her in key swing states; a female vote and instant Democratic "dream ticket" unity. Yet it will be hard for Obama to have a campaign for change with her as a partner. They have no chemistry. Obama would have to figure Bill Clinton would be part of the picture.
VIRGINIA GOV. TIM KAINE may bring in a Southern state, was one of Obama's earliest backers and Obama seems to enjoy being with him.
Obama, who has no military background, is looking for Republicans and independent votes. SEN. JIM WEBB, a freshman senator from Virginia, is a former Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, a former Marine, speaks Vietnamese and comes from the South.
Several figures who backed Clinton from key swing states could fill the governing hole in Obama's resume and build a bridge to the Clinton supporters. They are Iowa Gov. TOM VILSACK, Ohio Gov. TED STRICKLAND and Indiana Sen. EVAN BAYH, a former governor.
As part of the hunt for those GOP and independent voters, Obama could look at Sen. CHUCK HAGEL (R-Neb.) and New York Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, now an independent.
Bringing up the rear:
Pro-Obama governors from swing states: Kansas Gov. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS and Arizona Gov. JANET NAPOLITANO. But if Obama passes over Clinton, it would backfire to put these lesser qualified women on the ticket.
I'm not sure in what world Kansas is a swing state, but this is not the first time I've heard this point made that Obama's picking a woman for VP who's not Hillary would be a really dumb move: if you're going to go with a woman, why not Hillary? It could piss more women off than it mollifies.
For me, the best non-Hillary choice is Jim Webb. Not only does he put Virginia even more in play than Obama himself puts it, but he shores up the whole foreign policy experience thing and, as a former Republican, Webb brings some thematic consistency to the ticket.
I'm intrigued by constant reference to Sam Nunn as a potential VP pick. Sweet mentions him among her choices. Nunn would be the equivalent of Bush's picking Cheney: someone from the old guard, chosen to mitigate fears about the candidate's lack of experience, but also someone who, presumably, would not run for president in 8 years (he turns 70 in September.) In a way, wouldn't the choice of Sam Nunn also be sort of a concession to Hillary Clinton, saying "I'm not picking you for VP, but you'll be the presumptive nominee in 8 years if you want it?"